Sunday, 1 March 2009


i have read enough about how outcomes of legal cases can be a matter of lottery - there are always certain thresholds which determine the outcome (as far as establishing causation is concerned). In a civil case, it's the balance of probabilities (more than 50% chance), whereas in a criminal case, it's proof beyond reasonable doubt. The pressure point is on that very line. if it's 49.999% it's still somewhere short of 50%, and blame the statisticians whoever are responsible for the unfortunate gap. There's occasionally some controversy about where these thresholds should be drawn. Many people say it's a matter of lottery because it all depends on a lot of circumstantial factors which could be determined completely by chance. Say the evidence that can be and has been unearthed, the nature of the incident, the reasonableness of the judgment of the judge and jury....

And it's actually so true of life in general. it's all determined by chances. The extent to which human behaviour plays out is like the number of lots you draw and which areas you draw from and whether you put in the right box, or whether you have some magic sure win ticket etc. every time we make a decision we're drawing a lot. in fact every moment of life involves drawing a lot of lots. if i were a mathematician, i would definitely work on probabilities.

maybe thats why decisions can be so important because they can change your chances to different extent. they can be life changing experiences, or they can be completely futile mundane steps to take in life..... whether guided by your autonomy they could make a world of difference, and they could also be of complete irrelevance because your lots might totally not count at all.

who has this hand on these lotteries?

how different are go-getters to laid back-ors, really?

can there be more equality of chances? hm.... food for thought.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

on the legal causation bit - in family, you only need to prove some evidence (maybe even 20% in some cases) to meet the threshold for say, intervention.
further three weak evidences so 10% harm, 10% abuse, 10% neglect could add up to be substantial so in reality, lottery only determines which area of law/life you're dealing with - in some things, more so than others, numbers may not be as important.